It can be a huge undertaking when your company is planning a large corporate event and you are in charge of the catering menu. You could be responsible for planning between 1 large dinner and three meals a day for five days of meetings. David Horto, culinary artist and chef at Salero on the Beach, has some suggestions to help you design a great menu at a reasonable cost.

Your Event Guide

Use the following guidelines when planning the catering menu for your next event:

Question to address Example answers Enter your own answers
What type of corporate event are you planning? A formal or semi-formal award event Casual meeting-training event x 5 days
How many meals will you be having catered? 250-350 RSVP will determine the final number 2 meals per day, breakfast and lunch, dinner on their own. 3,500-4,000 meals
How many attendees can the party caterers expect? 150-200 employees +100-150 guests 350-400 trainees
Will you have buffets or plated meals? Plated meals You might prefer a buffet for breakfast but, due to the current COVID-19 situation, you may not be comfortable with that arrangement.

Plated breakfast usually results in a great deal of waste.

A hybrid of gloved servers offering a variety of breakfast options from a cart at each table could be a workable solution. 

For lunch, a soup, salad, and sandwich combo will be served to each diner at each meal. May have a specific soup and sandwich combo each day.

Do you need full service staff? Yes No- Setup and clean up only

Will have lunch in a different room than meeting if possible.

Will you serve alcohol? Open bar, pay by drink, or what?  Yes 

Considering bottled or canned beer, mini bottles of alcohol, and wine to ease concerns regarding COVID exposure. Would have to address the mixers issue also.


Attendees can purchase alcohol from the location bar if they elect.

Will you need decorations, tableware, glasses, etc… Yes

Will accept bids from location and outside Party Caterers.

Minimal-Tablecloths, water at each table, glasses, coffee, and drink station
Do you have a budget? Yes Yes

Tips on the Guide

Once you have answered these questions, you can start putting together your catering menu for your corporate event. As indicated, there is a significant difference between training meeting menus and a menu for corporate parties. Food is very important to people and may have the power to make or break your event. Add atmosphere and ambiance to that, and you can have a corporate event that will be remembered for years to come.

How Do You Use This Guide?

Use your answers in this graph to discuss your preferences with your potential venues, party caterers, or event planners. Find the one that best meets your needs at a reasonable cost. Also, check on banquet room size, meeting rooms, audiovisual needs, and hotel needs for attendees nearby. You want to be sure the location is clean, up to date, and visually appealing. Ask for a virtual tour if it is not available on the website. If these areas are someone else’s responsibility, be sure you coordinate efforts. The menu won’t matter if the venue is substandard.

Using these tips to start your catering menu planning for your corporate event or corporate parties will make you feel more secure in your choices. Require RSVPs for any event to ensure you have a fairly accurate number for planning. You do not always have to offer the most expensive or exotic entree. Make sure the food is delicious and the atmosphere is memorable and you will have a successful event. The expert chefs at Solero on the Beach have three predesigned catering menus to give you some idea of their offerings. They also offer a virtual tour of their stunning location.